Ever since, oh, forever, I have aspired to the time, ability, and gumption to do an all handmade Christmas. To me, handmade gifts are the best ones, as the thought and intention is there in every smidgeon of the present. I suppose, for me, that saying about what “counts” in a present is very true. But, I realize I’m not typical in that way, and that’s where the disconnect flusters me. I’ve hesitated for years and years, often making something by hand then changing my mind and sending something “more appropriate” or “better” (i.e. brand name), worrying my intent will be misconstrued or the recipient would think my present stinks.
I’m fully aware I have, for lack of a better word, passions that are disconnected with the way a lot of people think and do. I truly like to make things a lot of people would rather slit their wrists than do, and I have no qualms about putting a “do not disturb” sign on the door when I feel my family needs time to be quiet or together—really, I do put up a sign. There are days when I forget to take down that sign until the next morning… and then chuckle realizing that’s why the afternoon was so calm. :)
I know a lot of people do not feel that way. There can be no other explanation for prediced onions in the produce section… and I sometimes get the pushback that sends me the message that people think, when I say how I do things, I am projecting that onto them—that I think they should, too. I don’t. Heck, I am very contrary. If anyone told me I had to do something a certain way, I wouldn’t. I come from a very long line of pains in the ass.
Perhaps that as much as anything is why I try to be more old school in certain ways: I’m stubborn and don’t take much for face value. I also have an odd grudge against people overvaluing their time/effort. People who leave their carts where they please in a parking lot have a special area in the hell of my imagination. :) I have a gift of time—to spend with my family and doing for them. I truly do care about whether I am wasting resources, be it on a small or large scale, which is why I participate in a local CSA. But I also try to be realistic: yes to reducing paper products to the point that our family of 5 uses less than 3 rolls of paper towels a month, but NO to cloth diapers (sorry, I can NOT handle them—I am not equipped with the dealing with excrement gift, and can call in witnesses to attest to this). Better is better, I say. But perfectionism is a four letter word that leads to despair.
And, oddly, it was perfectionism of a sort that crippled my confidence to make and give handmade gifts. I still don’t have the time, ability (aka speed), and gumption to do an all handmade Christmas, but we’ve made baby steps this year. Bunny’s teacher got two handmade gifts: one for her tummy, and one less perishable. Bun and I can’t share much of our handwork yet, but this one we can, as it’s already been opened. It was a team effort – the little bookworm.
Bun was so proud of her part in it, she wanted to make one for a classmate’s birthday, too. I arrived to pick her up from the party which was running a little late, and was able to watch the gift opening portion, and I admit it! I felt that familiar anxiety when the birthday child was opening his loot. There were so many presents that were so much larger than Bun’s small package and hand drawn card (an excellent picture of a phoenix), and I started to worry that the child would be underwhelmed by her gift to him, not realizing hours of work went into it, and also that Bunny would feel bad about it and be sad.
But you know what? The bookworm was a hit. And, once word got out that Bun made it, a few of her friends asked if she would please make them one for their birthday, too. Bun felt far from sad about it—she was pleased and proud. I was very relieved, because no one wants their child to feel small in that way. It also did my heart good, and gave me hope that maybe my own less flashy gifts would be understood. We shall see.